San Diego College Notebook : Calavita Comes Home as Team’s Star Attraction

It wasn’t much of a homecoming for Joe Calavita, a center on the Vermont men’s basketball team.

Calavita played at Crawford High School his junior year, but moved to Middlebury, Vt., his senior year and helped lead Middlebury Union to a 24-0 record and the state championship.

Calavita was back in town for games against San Diego State last Saturday and U.S. International University on Monday.


Vermont did not fare too well, losing both games to extend its losing streak to 6 games. Calavita, the only senior starter and one of only two seniors on the team, scored 20 points against San Diego State and had 14 points and 5 rebounds against USIU.

Calavita was a 6-foot 7-inch bean pole when he started as a forward for Crawford his junior year. But he filled out after his freshman year at Vermont and is now 6-11 and 240 pounds.

“I wasn’t getting looked at too much,” Calavita said. “I was really skinny. Vermont was really the only team that went after me.

“I was too skinny to play center at Crawford so I played forward, taking those 15-foot shots.”

Calavita played every game as a freshman, averaging 2.3 points and 3.2 rebounds, but blossomed as a sophomore with 11.8 points and 5.2 rebounds a game.

His junior year, he became a dominant player in the North Atlantic Conference, averaging 20 points and 9.5 rebounds. He also set a conference tournament record when he scored 40 points against Niagara in the quarterfinals.

After 6 games as a senior, Calavita was averaging 26.5 points and 7.5 rebounds. Then he suffered a stress fracture in his left foot.

The injury ended a promising season for Calavita, who redshirted. He had been a preseason All-American and all-conference selection entering last season. This year, he was named an honorable mention All-American by Street & Smith’s magazine and the preseason conference player of the year by The Sporting News, which also listed him as a possible pick in the NBA draft.

This season, Calavita leads the team with 16 points and 8 rebounds.

The San Diego State women’s basketball team is having one of its finest seasons, with a 10-0 record after defeating Missouri, 97-75, Tuesday night.

That’s the best start since SDSU went 15-0 in Earnest Riggins’ first season as coach in 1983-84.

SDSU’s roster included nine freshmen that season. This season, the Aztecs are led by a veteran group that includes All- American Chana Perry.

Perry is averaging 26.6 points and 15.8 rebounds and was ranked No. 6 in scoring (27.4) and second in rebounding (15.5) in the last rankings released Dec. 21 by the National Collegiate Athletic Assn.

The Aztecs also were ranked seventh in scoring defense, allowing 54 points per game.

SDSU (1-0 in the Big West Conference) plays at UC Irvine Thursday and then plays host to San Jose State (Jan. 12) and Fresno State (Jan. 14).

If the Aztecs stay undefeated, they will risk the streak at nationally ranked Cal State Long Beach Jan. 19. The 49ers broke the Aztecs’ winning streak to start the 83-84 season.

Talk about your impact players. Brad Soucie scored a school-record 46 points against Point Loma Nazarene when he played his first game for Christian Heritage Dec. 31.

Soucie, whose brother, Bill, starts for Christian Heritage, transferred from Eastern Michigan last spring.

Brad broke his brother’s record of 34 points set last year against UC San Diego. Brad was 17 of 26 from the floor, including 6 of 10 from 3-point range.

Scoring 3-pointers is not new to Brad. He set an NCAA Division I playoff record with eight 3-pointers in Eastern Michigan’s 108-90 loss to Pittsburgh in the first round of the NCAA tournament last year.

As a sophomore, Soucie averaged 9.6 points and set a team record for 3-pointers in a season with 73, making 44.5 %.

Christian Heritage has the best record in the NAIA District 3 with a 10-2 record. The Hawks currently are on a trip to Hawaii.

A chronic knee injury has ended Amy Hillebrand’s basketball career at U.S. International University. Hillebrand, who played at Grossmont College, missed 13 games last season because of knee problems and played in 9 games this season before re-injuring the knee.

Hillebrand was averaging 8.7 points and 5.2 rebounds. Injuries and illnesses have hurt the Gulls this season. Forward Fonda DeCree has missed the last 4 games with a bronchial infection. DeCree was averaging 13.7 points and 7.2 rebounds.

USIU is 2-11 and has lost 10 in a row. Its last victory was 74-68 over Arizona State on Nov. 28.

The Pacific Coast Conference men’s basketball season starts Wednesday with Imperial Valley College favored to repeat as conference champion.

Palomar College might be the best San Diego County school with 6-8 freshman Lee Cobb, an All-CIF player from El Camino High School.